Expansionism Under James K. Polk Essay

1286 Words Sep 19th, 2007 6 Pages
Expansionism under James K. Polk

During the years surrounding James K. Polk's presidency, the United States of America grew economically, socially, and most noticeably geographically. In this time period, the western boundaries of the Untied States would be expanded all the way to the Pacific Ocean. Many Americans in the 19th century believed that the acquisition of this territory to the west was their right and embraced the concept of "Manifest Destiny". This concept was the belief that America should stretch from sea to shining sea and it was all but inevitable. Under the cover of "Manifest Destiny", President Polk imposed his views of an aggressive imperialistic nation. Imperialism is the practice of extending the power and
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The annexation of Texas would cause controversy that continued for years because of the slavery issue. President Polk made the annexation of Texas one of his key stances in the election of 1844. Upon the election to President Polk imposed his imperialistic views on Congress and gained the majority he needed for the annexation of Texas into the United States. Former President Tyler had made a similar attempt at this but failed due to backing from his government. It was only seen as a last ditch effort to save face on his part. The annexation of Texas was only the start of Polk's vision of a continental America. Texas' annexation would soon cause controversy in Polk's administration again with Mexico.
Soon after the annexation of Texas, Polk started to implement his expansion campaign slogan of, "Fifty-Four Forty or Fight!" This referred to the latitude line that formed the northern border of the Oregon territory. The British and Americans had jointly occupied this territory ever since the Anglo-American convention in 1818. Polk's desire for a true Pacific Ocean outlet and the willingness of the American people to fight for it put a huge amount of pressure on the British to resolve this issue peacefully. They proposed a treaty that stated the 49th parallel would form the border between British and American territory, which was a lot further south than Polk had initially desired during his campaign.

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